INCIPIENT SPECIES OF ELGARIA MULTICARINATA COMPLEX LIVING AT DIFFERENT LATITUDES DISPLAY NEARLY INDISTINGUISHABLE THERMAL BEHAVIOR AND TOLERANCE
|An Lyu; California State University, Fresno; email@example.com; Keyanna Pinto, Andy Cabrera, Rory S.Telemeco
Molecular genetic tools are commonly used to explore phylogenetic relationships and identify cryptic species, but they are unable to resolve how species function differently ecologically. To create informed management plans, we need to accurately predict how environmental perturbations will affect different taxa. For Southern Alligator Lizards (Elgaria multicarinata), genetic and morphological data suggest that the species is composed of at least two species-level clades, although this diversity is cryptic and can only be distinguished by molecular analysis. I examined whether the thermalbehavior or thermalsensitivity of two clades of Elgaria multicarinata varied based on their northern or southern latitude distribution. My result supported that the two incipient species are almost ecologically identical, with minor differences in their thermalbehavior and tolerance. Selected body temperatures are lower for lizards with larger mass and there is a trend for the Southern clade selecting lower temperatures. Understanding the subtle nuances of thermalbehavior between subspecies can prove crucial to maintaining these species alongside continued climate change.